The Marine Corps went on the offensive this week against a North Carolina alligator after investigators discovered it had lost its fear of service members living in a nearby barracks.
Someone had been feeding the alligator, and to prove it, officials at the Marine Corps New River Air Station posted a 12-second video Wednesday: It shows the gator coming out of water like a very dangerous puppy when human hands are extended toward it.
The video had been viewed 42,000 times in 20 hours.
“Don’t even think about it!” says a Facebook post with the video. “Alligators are usually shy and secretive, but lose their fear of people...when humans toss food their way. In addition to being illegal, feeding an alligator is dangerous.”
The safety threat was heightened in this case because the alligator was living close to a barracks, the post said. It was not made clear whether military personnel in the barracks were suspected of feeding the alligator like a pet, reported Military.com.
Station officials said this week that they ultimately decided to capture and move the alligator away from the barracks. And the post promised to investigate future reports of someone feeding alligators at the air station.
The site where the alligator was moved was kept secret, but initial plans were to release it “somewhere else on the installation.”
The murky rivers and swamps around the air station and nearby Camp Lejeune are a perfect habitat for American alligators, which are plentiful in the state.
Males generally get to be 13 feet long and 500 pounds in N.C., while females grow to about 9 feet and 200 pounds, according to N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission.